Friday, January 7, 2011


135 West 52nd Street (Between 7th and 6th Avenues)

It’s pretty difficult to find a spacious, calm and modern enough eatery smack dab in midtown Manhattan that borders the theater district----

Making it a locale to gather-your visiting Aunt and Uncle plus kids- from a flyover states, with theater tickets for later, a hipster niece hopping the “L”- in from Williamsburg, assorted siblings who work in the nearby financial firms---and maybe someone your dating and want to introduce around.

Moda Restaurante, a Mediterranean inspired, establishment has been re-tweaked a bit. We found our experience worked on many levels…and felt it's a handy choice if one needs to satisfy a wide assortment of palates, happily---in contemporary surrounds that are comfy…not slick.


A wide assortment of trendy Asian bites (Spring rolls, skewers), and some simple classics to start --- as well as entrees, and rich desserts to finish it off---with a credible International wine list to match--- are all served with attentively in a warm (flickering wall of candles) lounge style dining room ---off a sizeable bar that apparently gets the after work crowd.

Under William Narvoez’s guidance--- (as the new Director of Food  & Beverage---he is a veteran of the Times Square Westin Hotel), Moda aims to tastefully cater to both the busy corporate bees who toil in nearby skyscrapers and the tourists who come to marvel at these structures (Rockefeller Center)---as well as take in a Broadway show or SHOP.

We began our dinner in a liquid fashion---with a Fumé Blanc from Ferrari Carano (Sonoma) and Acacia Vineyards’ complex Pinot Noir---two excellent, by the glass choices.

Next, a generous portion of crisp Calamari with a spiced fra diavolo sauce ($16) and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette- lightly dressed- Arugula/ Breaded Goat Cheese Medallion/Beet salad with cherry tomatoes ($12)---served as well chosen substantial and lighter fare appetizers--- freshly prepared with fresh ingredients.

It was what we hoped for…nothing fancy extreme, just what we wanted done right.

We also dabbled in the pleasantly spiced, pureed Butternut Squash soup with fennel and mascarpone--- and a chewy tender, generously portioned Wild Mushroom soup, dabbed with truffle oil ($9)…honestly both so filling we could have called those meals.

Really yummy.

Homemade foccacio, dipped in extra virgin olive oil- with grated Pecorino Romano cheese also would have disappeared...

...but we had to try a split entrée -a flawlessly prepared, pan seared Branzino fish-

 filleted and served on a bed of freshly roasted rosemary thyme flecked potatoes-$30)

 and an Angel Hair pasta with succulent shrimps, lightly flavored in a chili pepper marinara sauce--- that enhanced ---not drowned, the got-it-right al dente texture of the main ingredient ($20).

Stuffed but tempted, we took slow bites on the easily shareable Tiramisu…a “classy homemade” choice but that was scoopable in the way a super rich hot chocolate is…and a deeply delicious, warm Chocolate Lava cake that was straight out delicious. ($9 each).

Also available---casual fare like sandwiches ---both hearty and light---and other main courses including Chicken Piccata ($16), Margherita Pizza ($10), share easy fresh pastas including the fav Fettuccini Alfredo ($14)…and a full compliment of beer (on tap, bottle) PLUS inspired after dinner spirits.


The airy, wide and long alleyway that stretches an entire city block long (!!!) from 52nd to 53rd streets serves as a wonderful outdoor spot for warmer weather happy hours and corporate parties (up to 400-500 people). Breezy loggias, oversized planters of fragrant herbs and green plants, and scattered sitting arrangements also help to elevate Moda’s enormous outdoor space from the usual.

(212) 887-9880 .

 -J. Ecochard